New Ballet Ensemble & School’s name points to the very heart of their organization. While once referring to the professional leg of their organization, it now includes all performers at New Ballet with members ranging in age from 6 to adult. The intent is to integrate professional teaching and performing artists, student artists and renowned guest artists into their classes and innovative performances across Memphis and the world.
Founded in 2001, New Ballet Ensemble’s professional ensemble members serve as Teaching Artists in the New Ballet School, instructing children from ages 3 to 18, and in Shelby County Schools' Strategic Dance Initiative where they instruct over 200 students weekly. Made up of a diverse group of dancers from different backgrounds, New Ballet Ensemble is fluent in ballet, modern, African, flamenco, jazz, tap, and hip-hop genres.
You might have heard of one of their most famous students, Charles "Lil Buck" Riley, who has highlighted the unique dance form of Memphis Jookin across the world.
What makes New Ballet Ensemble & School unique is the holistic programming offered to their students. Roughly 43% of their students receive training at no or reduced charge through scholarships at the Midtown studio and in satellite locations across the city. In addition to the dance training students receive, New Ballet Ensemble & School provides adult-to-youth mentoring, academic tutoring, diversity training, community service, and student leadership opportunities.
In 2014, New Ballet Ensemble & School received the National Arts and Humanities Award. As the nation's highest honor for after-school arts and humanities programs, the award recognizes and supports outstanding programs that lay new pathways to creativity, expression, and achievement outside of the regular school day.